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Comment: Time for Jewish leaders to show some pride

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  1. “Some may wonder why anyone would march at a Pride event at all, especially given that in the most part we’re no longer marching to achieve particular human rights and it was for equal rights that the first gay Pride march took place in London nearly 40 years ago last weekend.”

    Actually I’d be more curious why anybody with reasonable levels of intelligence would attend a gay pride march under a jewish, muslim, christian, sikh or hundu banner.

    These cults have done more to damage gay human rights than any other groups or clubs. In the casee of the christian, muslim and jewish religions the belief systems are reliant on badly written, works of fiction which were written to give meaning to the lives of desert living, illiterate peasants thousands of years ago. They should have absolutely no relevance to the modern world.

    In my view religion has nothing of value to offer the modern world.

    Religion is by its very nature undemocratic and intolerant of any beliefs other than its own. No self-respecting gay person should have anything to do with these cults. They are very dangerous and very damaging.

    After the massive advances in scientific knowledge and education standards (in the western world anyway) over the last 100 years I am automatically suspicous of religious people.

    My reaction is ussually ‘they seem quite intelligent, so why on earth do they believe that load of old nonsense? What is missing from their lives that they need the comfort of some holy book?’

    As for othodox rabbis who babble on about ‘hating the sinner but loving the sin’ – well that’s just absurd. These guys are nasty bigots regardless of how compassionate they pretend to be.

    Josef Ratzinger also says that people should not hate gay people, simply our ‘evil’ practises.

  2. “On every Yom Kippur, included alongside incest and bestiality in the list of banned sexual relationships, we read from the Torah: “you shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” – an offence punishable with death. And every year we do that, we’re sowing into the minds of another generation of young people that being LGBT and Jewish will be a struggle. ”

    But why on earth do you continue to participate with a synagogue which clearly and openly hates you?

    As you say in your article Liberal and Reform rabbis do not hate LGBT people in the way orthodox rabbis hate us. If you really feel that you want to attend a synagaoue then why don’t you find one that isn’t so disgustingly homophobic.

    Your religion is a choice. Your sexuality is not.

  3. Well done Ben that was indeed an article from the heart – it is good to see more and more gay Jewlicious people getting actively involved in the public eye – nice :-)

  4. David Campbell 8 Jul 2010, 5:23pm

    I enjoyed your article, Mr. Cohen. I think you hit on two very VERY important points. The first is that we cannot fully embrace ourselves if we separate our ‘constituent parts’, as you aptly called them. The Gay and the Jew must be integrated (as well as the Journalist, the Activist, the Politician, the Teacher, etc.) For those who follow a religion, to truly follow a religion it must, by its very nature, color every aspect of your life. That religion (and associated cultural flavor) must be integrated within the individual.

    Next, the individual also has to reconcile any dogmatic or doctrinal differences. I think this is the harder part. How does one reconcile oneself to practicing a religion that rejects you? You cite Yom Kippur and the passage from Leviticus that is repeatedly thrown in our collective queer face. Jew or Goy, it is also a slap in our collective face. It raises so many questions for LGBTQs of faith: What does one’s religion say about being gay? If it opposes homosexuality, how do you reconcile that in your life?…in your faith? Why are you practicing THAT religion? Why are you practicing a religion that rejects who you are?

    I’ll just mention the ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ is a smoke screen. It’s still homophobia. As you have realized, you can’t separate the Jew from the Gay, likewise for LGBTQs practicing religions that consider homosexuality a sin, you can’t separate the sin from the sinner.

  5. Please advise. Are you saying that you will only be filled with pride when the Torah is re-written to suit your wants?

  6. Ben should abandon the pointless bigotry of religious Judaism.

  7. It’s incredible anyone nowadays believes in religion.

  8. Benjamin Cohen 9 Jul 2010, 8:52am

    Postscript
    I should add for the avoidance of doubt, that my attachment to Judaism is more or less exclusively a cultural one. I studied theology at university and so consequently, I don’t really believe in God any more, certainly not the personal God of traditional Jewish thought. The laws and traditions of Judaism that I follow therefore are the ones that I actually agree with or that I have a cultural affinity with. I do them because I want to, not like a religious person who often does particular things because they are scared of some sort of divine retribution.

    But even though I no longer believe, I don’t lose the right to want the religion to change, to adapt and respond to modernity. While you could pretty well argue I could jump ships to a Liberal or Reform synagogue, I don’t think I should have to. I want the mainstream branch of Judaism to change so that the situation for young LGBT Jews changes. When you’re a kid, you don’t get to chose the synagogue you attend, your parents do, and it’s only through changing the attitudes of orthodox Jews that will enable a different approach to homosexuality appear. That’s why I wrote the column for the Jewish News aimed squarely at the orthodox community.

  9. David Campbell 9 Jul 2010, 3:51pm

    As a follow up to your Postscript, I think that the Jewish experience is unique to a certain degree in that being Jewish is significantly cultural and not simply a choice of religion. I have personally witnessed the social/religious conflict that LGBTQ Jew, esp. Orthodox and Chassidic, experience while trying to reconcile their sexuality, cultural traditions, and religious beliefs. (“Trembling Before G-d” was an gut wrenching example of this, too.)

    As a non-theist myself, I am glad to read you “no longer believe”. I am surprised at at your desire for mainstream Judaism to accept homosexuality. Respectfully, I find that naive. The demonization of homosexuality is so deeply entrenched in the Judaism, Catholicism (among other flavors of Christianity), and Islam that I believe it pointless to expect those religions to change. That which cannot adapt will become extinct. People are becoming aware that in the place of compassion, respect, and dignity of life, these religions are feeding generation after generation hate, bigotry, and inequity.

    None, or few, of us got to choose in what religious tradition we were raised. But as an adult we have the cognitive ability to asses and rationally determine what faith – if any – we choose to follow. I believe, in fact, that the process of seeking, analyzing, and objectively self-reflecting makes us stronger individuals and more “faithful” to our beliefs.

    I am curious as to what your greater goals is. Were Orthodox Judaism to suddenly fully accept homosexuality, WhiteOut the passage from Leviticus, and no longer distinguish gay from straight in any way. Would you return to the faith..or would it be enough that you had seen the ‘reformation’?

  10. Incredible. Absolutely no mention of the way in which the Israeli state daily humiliates, oppresses and murders (LGBT) Palestinians. This along with the latest wraft of Israel advertisements on London Underground are a whitewash of the reality in the Middle East- as long as Israel humiliates and oppresses LGBT Palestinians it will surely oppress its own LGBT population.

  11. Very interesting Ben, I love to read about different religions and Judaism, while generally not more accepting, seems to be not so sickingly obsessed with bashing homosexuality. However, why did you want to excuse yourself in the end for talking about religion? I think there are a lot of religion-bashers among the gay people here. See comments for example.

  12. that was rubbish. palistilian lgbt people are getting shafted while you party in tel aviv. I guess it’s the same as the middle class guys who parade their ordinaryness in London hoping to be accepted in the name of pride whle lgbt people still live in fear in some communities in the uk. nice

  13. @ Ecosoc

    Actually islamic palestine does enough damage to its own LGB community without having to blame Israel. In fact, if you look at the record of LGB human rights amongst any other country surrounding Israel in the middle east, you will find that Israel is by far the most forward thinking. So please don’t use the palestinian LGB community to get your anti-Israel point across.

  14. re your postscript. you really are mixed up bad. you don’t believe in G-D even though you honestly know there is a G-D but would rather there wasn’t so that you can carry on with your immoral lifestyle. you do not practice Judaism but you want all Jews to change the Torah to suit your depravities. The day when orthodox change their views on this matter chas vesholom, is the day that Judaism ceases to exist

  15. David, if I may presume, you are not gay, right? If I am wrong in presuming, I sincerely apologise. If I am correct, how on earth (and why) did you get on this thread? In any event, you demonstrate that you are correct; that the orthodox will never accept LGBT lifestyles as being within the religeon. That is why people are driven away from you, and your co-thinkers. Shame really since the reality is that, with the UK Jewish population being a mere 300,000 (and, along with the world Jewish orthodox population, declining), you need us more than we need you. I accept you do not want (as opposed to need) us – but that it not really relevant in the circumstances.

  16. Dave your presumptions are correct. I came onto this thread because the article was published in the Jewish News last week. Judaism is not looking for numbers and certainly not people who reject Judaism and Torah. What is the point of a religion which by definition is a set of rules that it’s adherents have to live by, when all and sundry can come along and change the rules as it suits them

  17. We are all behind you Ben, although some of us would like to be in front of you. wink wink

  18. @ Benjamin Cohen, “my attachment to Judaism is more or less exclusively a cultural one”

    You’re conflating Judaism with Jewishness. EG Englishness doesn’t equal Christianity.

    @ David, “you do not practice Judaism but you want all Jews to change the Torah to suit your depravities” should read “you do not practice Judaism but you want all Judaists to change the Torah to suit your depravities”. Jews != Judaists (!= is a mathematical notation denoting DOES NOT EQUAL, I know you find science tricky so I must explain). Filthy Judaists blacken the word “Jew”. Describing gay relations as “depravities” means you deserve every horrid name under god’s green earth hurled at you.

    “The day when orthodox change their views on this matter chas vesholom, is the day that Judaism ceases to exist” I don’t know what chas vesholom means, and I don’t care. If accepting gays as equal means the destruction of Judaism, so be it. I’ll kiss you goodbye. A big wet gay kiss. Right on your tooshie. You try to smear all flavours of Judaism under your absurd orthodox cult, like you speak for all your religion. That’s presumptive and arrogant of you but that’s what religion is!

  19. David, as a practising non orthodox Jew (which to you means that I am not a Jew, to me means I go to a reform synagogue and respect its, and my, Jewish values) I am sad that your prejudices against a lifestyle created by Hashem (whether you like it or not) can not be a sin. Your dismissal of my lifestyle as depravity comes as no surprise. People like you are simply incapable of understanding any point of view, but their own. Argument is futile. So I won’t even try. I place your extremism in the same catagory as that of other religeons – outdated, dangerous and thankfully dwindling in importance. If you are what a Jew has to be, I want none of it. Luckily, you are not.

  20. Benjamin Cohen 13 Jul 2010, 11:11am

    @Jirysoo, For me you’re wrong. Judaism is not just a religion it’s an ethnic, cultural group. You might argue that Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, and I’m a Jew not someone who practices Judaism. I think they’re not mutually exclusive.

    David I doubt that you keep all 613 mitzvot- so why are you so hung up on this prohibition?

    Do you honestly think people decide to be LGBT? People don’t just wake up and think: ‘I know what, I think I might be gay, that will be a laugh!’ Why would anyone do that? Lots of LGBT people wouldn’t have wanted to be born that way given a choice, but guess what they don’t have a choice. The only choice that an openly LGBT person made is the choice to be honest with themselves and their loved ones.

    What you want presumably is a return to closet, people pretending to be something that they are not, to lie. Actually while there is one prohibition that could be interpreted as relating to gay sex, in the Torah, there are numerous prohibitions against lying.
    “Thou shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16), “Thou shall not steal, thou shall not deny falsely, and thou shall not lie one to another” (Leviticus 19: 11), and “Distance yourself from a false matter” (Exodus 23:7) for example.

    For an LGBT person to live a lie of a life- pretending to be heterosexual, deceive a partner surely must be wrong too? Or what would you have LGBT people do, given that it’s not a choice to be LGBT. Just whiter up and die?

  21. Jirysoo: Judaist? What is that?

    To Dave: A Jew is a Jew whatever he does. What you have to understand is that Judaism is a religion, meaning adherents need to subvert themselves to it, and since the whole religion of Judaism is belief in every single word of the Torah as the ultimate truth as given by G-D, one cannot have “MY Jewish values” only G-d’s Jewish values.

    To call practising a gay lifestyle, as being created by Hashem is the equivalent of saying that someone who has a natural tendency towards murder or rape may murder or rape because a person can follow his natural tendencies as this was created by Hashem. A person is expected to overcome his desires, that is what separates us from animals.

    To Benjamin: I am hung up on all 613. You confuse what one might transgress and what is acceptable. Personally I believe that people are not born gay and certainly not in the numbers that claim to be gay, but as explained it is a person’s job to resist this lifestyle. It is no more living a lie for a person not to rape even though he has a natural urge to do so.

  22. David, disgraceful, quite disgraceful, you should hang your head in shame. You have the affrontery to use the murderer analogy. I was born gay; G-d made me gay – he made you straight (he also, in passing, made you a bigot, but we are not focusing on that here). How dare you say I should sublimate that, as if my natural sexual inclination was the same thing as a tendency to murder or rape. I do not want to overcome my desires. It is quite shocking that, in the name of religeon, anyone should be expected to do so. But, if it were to be something you feel appropriate, maybe you should first focus on the disproportionately frequent (and usually unreported) episodes of rape and incest amongst the orthodox community. Sort that mess out first, then turn your atention to harmelss gays. I said before that trying to reason with people like you is a waste of time. You make me ashamed to be a Jew. I only insist in pointing out to the non Jewish readers of your posts that you are one of a tiny and thankfully dwindling minority of fundamentalist extermists, whose views do not represent any mainstream element of my race. By the way, it is a race, not just a religeon and just as much my race, as yours. so butt out of my life and I will butt out of yours.

  23. You fail to explain the difference. A murderer was also created that way. You or Benjamin Cohen have the choice to live your life as you see fit but this article is entitled Time for Jewish Leaders to show some pride. The article is attempting to get others – leaders especially – to have pride in something which is clearly forbidden by G-d in the Torah (not just my views).
    You ask me to butt out of your life but Benjamin Cohen doesn’t want to butt out of ours. He can practice his gay leanings in private, but he wants to display it on marches and get all Jews – and the whole world indeed – to join him.
    The disproportionately frequent episodes of rape and incest amongst the orthodox community is a figment of your imagination.

  24. @ Benjamin Cohen, “Judaism is not just a religion it’s an ethnic, cultural group.”

    Judaism is a religion, definitely not an ethnicity! Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion.

    “You might argue that Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, and I’m a Jew not someone who practices Judaism. I think they’re not mutually exclusive.”

    Indeed, Judiasm is predominantly the religion of Jews. Jews aren’t born Judiasts. You may be interested in the latest DNA analysis of Jewish people throughout the world:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603123707.htm

    @ David, “Judaist? What is that?”

    OED: One who follows or favours Jewish practice or ritual
    Webster’s: one that believes in or practices Judaism

    If you want to differentiate sane secular Jews from insane religionists (OED “One addicted or attached to religion; one imbued with, or zealous for, religion.”), you use the correct words.

    Know that when you speak for “Jews” you really mean religious Jews, or Judaists (followers of Judaism). Don’t think you speak for all Jews because you certainly don’t.

  25. Surely there is no conflict at all between belief in a divine spirit and gayness or even being gay. The problem lies in the sheep-like behaviour of humans in that they feel compelled to follow existing religions, the doctrines of which were written in less tolerant times.
    The hatred and intolerance displayed towards believers on this site is incredible – spirituality is as much as a part of humanity as sexuality. Perhaps a debate about the reasons for the presence of gayness in the world with believers, and questioning the spiritual tendencies to follow the crowd rather than abject hatred and insults would produce better outcomes.

    People are very often afraid of being ‘on their own’ – constantly referring to them as ‘bigots’ is more likely to glue them to the body of ancient opinion for reasons of safety, than free them from it.
    Those ‘born into’ religions especially may need support to escape from it in almost exactly the same way that someone who dare not come out might – hatred is not support.

  26. David, the diference, between a gay man and a murderer and a rapist, neither of whom sublimate their born inclinations? You are really, seriously, asking that? Come on! That is why your proposition is bizzare. And it is why it is plainly untenable. It is also breathtakingly insulting.

    This is a waste of time. I am not going to respond to your further posts because (a) you will never be convinced, you have the conviction of the fundamentalist that you are right, nothing will dislodge that (b) our views, as I have said, are irrelevant and your body of thought is, thank G-d, becoming more (c) I think it’s a bit creepy that you keep coming back to this thread.

    Oh and the disproportionately high incidence of incest and rape in the orthodox community is sadly not a figment of my imagination, and calling it so does not make it so. But I don’t expect you to accept that either, so don’t trouble to squabble with me on that one. It is what it is, whatever either of us say.

  27. Jirysoo: By definition religious Judaism is the religion of Judaism. Jews who are not religious do not follow the religion of Judaism. They are Jews and I suppose Judaists to whatever extent they are attracted to religious Judaism.
    Dave: you have still failed to explain the difference.
    In your posts you reject my views as ridiculous, outdated, dangerous and bigoted etc but why do you believe that your views are correct. Why is your logic and opinion more valid than mine?
    “you have the conviction of the fundamentalist that you are right, nothing will dislodge that” what about your convictions? You are not even prepared to debate the issues
    Instead of just repeating your mantra about incest and rape in the orthodox community, show some proof or withdraw your remarks.

  28. The difference? The difference between having a loving sexual same sex relationship and murdering or raping someone? You are asking what the difference is? Are you really?

    Your views are ridiculous, outdated, dangerous and bigoted.

    I leave it to others to judge whose opinion carries more logic since you and I would never see eye to eye on that, and (third time now) there is no point in debating with you. To be fair, as I try to be, I agree that there is no argument you could ever raise with me that would convince me that being a practising gay man is a sin, or akin to being a murder/rapist. If that means I have a closed mind, well, I guess it does, on that subject.

    I did not repeat a mantra. I said that it is what it is.

    Can we leave this please? You are wasting my time and I am wasting yours. Get on with your life; leave me to mine. Zy gyzunt.

  29. Benjamin Cohen 14 Jul 2010, 3:36pm

    David,

    If I may say so, debating with you is pointless. Judaism does not belong just to the strict adherents of the particular dogma of Orthodox Judaism that you belong to or even Orthodoxy as a whole. One does not choose to be a Jew, you are born a Jew (rather like being born LGBT), it is an ethnic and racial group in that sense. Your attitude is to assume that you have a monopoly over the religion. You don’t. Indeed the views you hold are by far now in the minority. Of course, you wouldn’t recognise that the other forms of Judaism are valid, but the Orthodox community (in terms of families) is shrinking while the others grow.

    I began this debate because I wanted to show that the Orthodox community’s approach is unsustainable. I wanted to show that that Orthodox Rabbis fudge the issue by saying “hate the sin, love the sinner.” What you have clearly not shown is any love, nor compassion.

    You have simply compared homosexual desires to the desire to rape.

    Such a comparison is unnecessary and unwarranted. I hope that you do not really believe that it is in any way similar. Someone who rapes another person commits a vile, unconsensual act of violence against an individual. Someone who rapes another person does not just do it because they have a sexual desire for someone; they do it to have power over them.

    I’m just happy that I know many Orthodox people who take a very different view to you, because as rational human beings they realise that a) the prohibition is not actually completely spelt out in the Torah b) that modern science and medicine has proven that homosexuality is neither a choice nor a mental condition.

    The fact is David, if I’m honest; I wouldn’t choose to be LGBT. I would have preferred an easy life, without dilemmas, conflicts and discrimination. But I couldn’t choose to be a liar either.

  30. Dave: I never said that murder and gay relationships are the same, what I said was that if as you claimed; gay relationships were created by Hashem and as such cannot be a sin then the same logic would apply to murderers, and is therefore not a credible argument.

    “I agree that there is no argument you could ever raise with me that would convince me that being a practising gay man is a sin ……. If that means I have a closed mind, well, I guess it does” so whose views are bigoted?

    Benjamin: As I explained in a previous post, the religion of Judaism is religious Judaism, anything else is either a different religion or no religion at all. The views I hold are in the minority of people who do not practice the religion of Judaism, so are not relevant. As you are well aware, the Orthodox community is the only section of Judaism that is expanding while others disappear

    You have failed to show why the Orthodox community’s approach is unsustainable. The comparison between murder and gay relationships is only understandable by someone who understands the concept of religion and subservience to G-d and His laws.

    “the prohibition is not actually completely spelt out in the Torah? What does this mean then?
    Lev.18,22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.
    Lev.20,13 And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
    It is irrelevant what modern science and medicine has proven. If it is wrong it is wrong. I have already explained why it is not a lie to refrain from gay relationships.

  31. As someone who was born and raised within the Orthodox tradition who spent many years struggling with the conflict of what it means to be both Jewish and gay, I know there is no easy truth. Jacob teaches us we wrestle with G-d. Judaism expects us to live a life not wait for death.

    I’m personally not a major fan of some aspects of gay Pride parades (I think overt displays of sexuality do not serve gay people’s flight for equal rights well). However the opposite of pride is shame and people should be able to tell the world that they are not in hiding and are not ashamed. There is all the more reason to walk with pride when the forces who wish to silence are so strong.

    The Torah has nothing to say about being LGBT or on any other identity issue. The Torah only speaks of specific sexual acts. These acts do not define being gay or having pride in being gay. The Torah prohibition does not excuse homophobia within the Orthodox Jewish community. This like many of the other prejudices has no real basis in Torah values but rather in the prejudices of the general culture around it. (This is similar to the changes in how women are seen today and in the past. 100 years ago the idea of educating women was seen as abhorrent within the Orthodox community but things have changed and it is clear that the traditional way of treating women was not rooted in Torah but in the ways of that time.)

    The Orthodox Jewish way will survive a change in its way of dealing with gay people too, without needing to change the Torah. (Benjamin you can not expect the Yom Kippur Torah reading to change but our communal approach to it can.) Orthodox people will have to recognise the difference between their timeless love of Torah and their unsourced fear of gay people.

    Thankfully I have met many Torah observant Jews who are able to do that. Several of them are Orthodox rabbis, so it is safe to say homophobia is not synonymous with Orthodoxy. Perhaps that is because they know real humans, with real lives and they also have the humility to know another Jewish value: not to judge another person until you have stood in their shoes.

  32. Max: Good post, but Jews should certainly not be proud of living against the edicts of the Torah. What Benjamin wants Jews and their leaders to be proud of is living in a gay relationship not merely having gay inclinations, which cannot be described as a prejudice which has no real basis in Torah nor can it be compared to changes in social values which are not proscribed in the Torah like what women should study. Incidentally orthodox people have no fear of gay people and lastly no one is judging anyone, we are discussing the rights and wrongs of a gay lifestyle.

  33. I gave up, David, on any attempt to persuade you, and smiled at your sophistry in managing to make me the bigot. If that is what you really think, think it.

    But I shall happily continue being a gay Jew, with my gay Jewish partner of 30+ years, visiting the synagogue, having our joint aliyah on Yom Kippur, and being accepted by the community as a couple. I may not get to heaven, but if I do not, it will be for reasons other than my homosexuality and its attendant lifestyle. Maybe see you there. Until then…..

  34. Dave: I hope that you will take to heart what is written in the Torah that you get called up to on Yom Kippur (otherwise why get called up to It). After all we all have a job to do in this world not just to coast along enjoying any pleasure that comes our way, so that our lives have purpose. In that merit not only will you get to heaven but your reward will be very great for overcoming your natural urges which is obviously a tremendously hard test for you, and I hope that I will merit to join you there.

  35. See, as I said, no point. No point at all. The absolute certainty of the fundamentalist. Pompous, pious and pathetic (in the literal sense).

  36. The Torah has nothing to say about gay relationships either, only about specific sexual acts. The problem some Orthodox Jews have with gay people loving each other and having long-term relationships is not sourced in the Torah’s text, it comes from a heterosexist hegemonic perspective. Just as it’s attitude to women’s learning did. That’s not a criticism it’s just how the whole world was. These things can and do change without necessitating a change in the Torah.

  37. Max: So it is agreed that specific homosexual acts are forbidden by the Torah.

    1. Benjamin Cohen 16 Jul 2010, 12:13am

      I don’t actually agree. It prohibitions are
      “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.”
      “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

      Some commentators compare this to rape, something that was common both against males and women in biblical times. I personally believe that this is the real meaning of the prohibition. As I have argued before. However, I don’t seriously believe that many people, David accepted, really believe in much of what they read in the Torah.

      For while the rape of men is prohibited, the rape of women isn’t. A couple of choice quotes below. Seriously, David you can’t agree with this do you? Do you think that a man should be able to rape a woman so long as he pays her father 50 shekeles? You don’t think that a Jewish army should be able to rape the women in lands they conquer? By the way, the translations below are from the Judaica Press edition.

      (Devarim) Deuteronomy 22:28-29
      If a man finds a virgin girl who was not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, the man who lay with her shall give fifty [shekels of] silver to the girl’s father, and she shall become his wife, because he violated her. He shall not send her away all the days of his life.
      Devarim 21:10-14
      If you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, will deliver him into your hands, and you take his captives and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her, you may take [her] for yourself as a wife. You shall bring her into your home, and she shall shave her head and let her nails grow. And she shall remove the garment of her captivity from upon herself, and stay in your house, and weep for her father and her mother for a full month. After that, you may be intimate with her and possess her, and she will be a wife for you.
      And it will be, if you do not desire her, then you shall send her away wherever she wishes, but you shall not sell her for money. You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her.

  38. David, “By definition religious Judaism is the religion of Judaism.”

    First I thought you made a mistake but later you say

    “the religion of Judaism is religious Judaism, anything else is either a different religion or no religion at all.”

    Do you mean Orthodox Judaism is Judaism, implying that the only real religion is Orthodoxy and all other flavours of Judaism are not Judaism at all?

    You’re correct in saying “Jews who are not religious do not follow the religion of Judaism.” which is rather like saying a cat is not a dog. “They are Jews and I suppose Judaists to whatever extent they are attracted to religious Judaism.” Quite. Jew does not equal Judaist but more often than not Judaist does equal Jew.

    “no one is judging anyone, we are discussing the rights and wrongs of a gay lifestyle”

    At least you are willing to be reasoned with. My question, though, is how far are you willing to take your debate: If it could be proven to you, through reason and logic, that gays are fully realised people, with the same relationship validity and life potential and equal in every facet of life to heterosexual people, created equally by birth as from god, would you accept gays as equals? Or are you hung up on various passages from the Torah, even though you ignore or dismiss the ones you don’t like?

  39. Jirysoo: Judaism only has one flavour, being the original flavour. When Judaism was started as a religion it involved the Jewish people as a whole nation accepting the Torah from G-d in it’s entirety.

    I have always understood the meaning of being religious as meaning adhering to the original, as opposed to adding flavours to dilute or change the taste of the original sometimes to the extent of the original being unrecognisable. If THE fundamental basis of this religion at the start was the acceptance of the Torah as being the immutable word of G-d, then claiming that parts of it are no longer relevant or that it is not the word of G-d is saying that one does not want to be part of that religion.

    If a group of people subsequently wish to adopt some Jewish practices and add, dilute or reform parts of it, it that still Judaism? I would say it isn’t, it might have similarities but as I said in my previous post is either a different religion or no religion at all because it’s adherents are not adherents to anything but their own wishes, and each member of this new group adapt their new “religion” in their own way to suit themselves.

    In truth this is really the exact opposite of religion, it is the service of oneself.

    I fully believe that gays have the same relationship validity and life potential and equal in every facet of life to heterosexual people, created equally by birth and are equal. I simply say that their gay practices are wrong for Jews.

    Which passages from the Torah do you claim that I ignore?

  40. Benjamin Cohen 18 Jul 2010, 12:21am

    I don’t actually agree. It prohibitions are
    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.”
    “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

    Some commentators compare this to rape, something that was common both against males and women in biblical times. I personally believe that this is the real meaning of the prohibition. As I have argued before. However, I don’t seriously believe that many people, David accepted, really believe in much of what they read in the Torah.

    For while the rape of men is prohibited, the rape of women isn’t. A couple of choice quotes below. Seriously, David you can’t agree with this do you? Do you think that a man should be able to rape a woman so long as he pays her father 50 shekeles?

    You don’t think that a Jewish army should be able to rape the women in lands they conquer? By the way, the translations below are from the Judaica Press edition.

    (Devarim) Deuteronomy 22:28-29
    If a man finds a virgin girl who was not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, the man who lay with her shall give fifty [shekels of] silver to the girl’s father, and she shall become his wife, because he violated her. He shall not send her away all the days of his life.

    Devarim 21:10-14
    If you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, will deliver him into your hands, and you take his captives and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her, you may take [her] for yourself as a wife. You shall bring her into your home, and she shall shave her head and let her nails grow. And she shall remove the garment of her captivity from upon herself, and stay in your house, and weep for her father and her mother for a full month. After that, you may be intimate with her and possess her, and she will be a wife for you.
    And it will be, if you do not desire her, then you shall send her away wherever she wishes, but you shall not sell her for money. You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her.

  41. Whether you agree or not, that is what it says. It is as clear what it means and does not relate to rape.

    All religious Jews really believe in all of what they read in the Torah.

    Devarim 22:28-29 is describing a violation for which the punishment is detailed. Where do you see in that passage that it is ok to rape?

    Devarim 21:10-14 relates to someone who wishes to marry a woman that he has captured in war, which is not rape. Nevertheless the Torah tries to dissuade him from doing so, so only allows this to happen after the woman has wept for a full month and shaved her head and let her nails grow. Where does it mention rape?

  42. I don’t understand this, but I read it in the Jewish news

  43. Jess Conrad 22 Aug 2010, 4:42pm

    There were Jews before there was Religion. They would have been ‘Hunter Gatherers’ before they became shepards. They were Nomads when they became shepards. Life was hard and simple then And There was not too many Benjamin Cohen’s about in those days. Isreal now is on a constant war footing since 1948 and will remain so for the forseeable future. Arab and Jew are nitro and glysorine…apart they are stable but put them together….Boom!

  44. Jess Conrad 27 Aug 2010, 11:24pm

    It Also Tells Us In The Jewish News That Hitler’s Genes were Jewish and African….So Who Cares 65 Years Later? I Lived When Hitler Was Bombing Britain And Killing Thousands Of Us During That Period. And So It Pains Me When Ignorant People Say, “Oh Dear, The Poor Germans’ Got Bombed!

  45. I am happy to see that there are many gay Jews in London. It is such a beautiful thing to admire.
    But i find it intellectually offensive that any mortal individual, gay or not, should challenge the Jewish religion. True or not, a mere human cannot judge the conception of ‘God’ or ‘Religion’, especially if that person is gay (because gays have a biased opinion on most things since they cannot fit into normal society).

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